The Canadian ballet scene has been changing as a result of passionate and inspiring dancers like Amber Barton, Karissa Barry and Caroline Fitzner. Choreographer and dancer Amber Barton has been dancing since the young age of 4. Her mother put her in dance because she was pigeon toed. Not having pointed feet and arches like most dancers did not stop Amber from pursuing her passion for dance. She met her physical limitations head on. “It’s been a struggle to finally understand my body and how to get the most out of it, instead of giving up because I don’t look pretty” says Barton.
Caroline “Lina” Fitzner took a workshop with a modern dance teacher and it was the most encouraging and inspiring experience she had ever had with dance. It was then that she decided to pursue dance seriously. This serious commitment to dance was not an easy decision. “I really was unsure in my high school years; I wanted to have more of a social life. I was also contemplating going to a university for science study and dancing took up a lot of extra time.”
Karissa Barry began taking creative movement classes at the tender age of 4. Her mother, a jazz and tap dancer, simply wanted to expose her daughter to ballet to see if she seemed interested. Seventeen years later Karissa can look back on that very day and say she was “intrigued”.
By adding modern dance, jazz and a little “dash” of hip hop to traditional ballet these women are captivating audiences. This type of dance has allowed them freedom to be who they are both physically and emotionally. They are able to concentrate on their skills, expression and their love of dance rather than worry about meeting physical attributes. The importance of “body image” is introduced very early on in the dance world “…Because of it being so accepted in the world I was in, it wasn’t viewed as unhealthy to not eat as much as you should,” explains Karissa.